BBC Reports New Study with Mice Could Be Breakthrough in Hearing Loss

According to a news report by the BBC, a study recently published in Nature Biotechnology has shown great advances in the treatment of hearing loss. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University have found that a synthetic virus based on an adeno-associated virus already used in gene therapies can remedy Usher syndrome in mice.

Usher syndrome is a disorder which causes the sound-sensing hairs in the ear to grow incorrectly, leading to substantial hearing loss. However, after being given a dose of the virus, which contained the correct genetic material for the sound-sensing hairs, previously deaf mice were able to hear sounds as quiet as a whisper, or 25 decibels, for at least six months.

At this stage researchers are unsure if this treatment will be able to correct Usher syndrome in newborn babies, given that babies’ ears are much more developed than those of newborn mice but this study is an important step forward in the quest to correct hearing loss in both animals and people.

To read more about Usher syndrome and these exciting results, please click here.